Australian Bass Winter Fishing
Australian Bass fishing changes during the winter months for many reasons. One is that it’s their spawning season and the other is that the Australian government recently passed legislation that places limits on catches. More on this later on.
For Australian Bass that are able to freely roam from the normal hiding spots to the sea, migration begins during the early winter months. The exact date is impossible to predict as it changes from year to year and from place to place. It’s far simpler to time their migration by monitoring the water temperature as it’s the trigger for migration.
Spawning and Migration
When the water temperature drops to between 16°C and 20°C Australian Bass begin their migration from their rivers and streams down to the ocean estuaries. Their preference is in the mid to lower ends of the estuary as they seek out the correct salinity.
Temperatures within this range are considered optimal for the survival of bass fry. A sudden and persistent drop in temperature will cause a considerable drop in the ability of the fry to survive.
Best Bass Tackle
As for the best tackle, well these Australian bass will eat pretty well any lure or bait. Insects, crayfish, blood worms and flies. Virtually any natural bait it can get its mouth around. Some anglers will troll using baitcasters and spinning tackle with mid and deep diving tackle and concentrate on weed beds and rocky shorelines.
We recommend using bass fishing techniques that appeal to the Australian Bass’ instinct to protect their territory.
This technique only proves successful when the location of the bass is known, at least the general area. This is easier to figure out during the day than at night when they more freely roam in the open.
Australian Bass hate direct sunlight and prefer areas where there’s ample cover. If you’re not sure where they’re located, or if they’re deep, use a sonar device to locate the fish. Cast your lure past them, then bring it close to them within several feet.
Even though Australian Bass move in to estuaries to spawn, these are freshwater fish. The only time they travel down to the brackish and saltwater of estuaries is for spawning purposes, usually in the winter months of July and October.
Over the past decade the Australian Bass population has shrunk. These are the 2 main reasons for this.
- The construction of dams along the main rivers of south east Australia, preventing the migration of large numbers of bass.
- Weather extremes. The result of long persistent periods of drought is a drop in the water levels which causes many Australian Bass to forgo spawning. After years of drought, heavy rains can come and caused flooding. These extreme dry periods are blamed on the Indian Ocean dipole.
Indian Ocean Dipole
The Indian Ocean is an irregular change of sea-surface temperatures in which the western Indian Ocean becomes alternately warmer than the colder, eastern part of the ocean which results in Australia being inundated with hot dry air.
Zero Bag Limit
On June 1, 2009 the Australian government’s legislation to protect the Australian Bass and estuary perch went into effect and remained so until August 31. The legislation was enacted after a 3 year study aimed to find ways of restoring the population to healthy numbers. The ban was lifted on September 1, 2009, but there are still a great many restrictions still in place.
Anglers may keep 2 Australian Bass or estuary perch per person. This restriction applies to both species or a combination of both. River restrictions are even more strict. Only one fish may be kept that’s over 35 cm in length (approximately 14 inches).
For more information on bass fishing restrictions for the state of New South Wales, contact www.onegov.nsw.gov.au/new/
Many northern hemisphere anglers tend to forget that when it’s summer in the north, say Texas, it’s actually winter in places like Australia. Keep this in mind when planning trips to countries like Australia and South America.